The 17th annual ARTrails studio tour will feature a slew of familiar faces and new artists, including a young Central Washington University graduate with a distinct affinity for a variety of marine and wildlife.
Amanda Hanson will be one of the 37 participants in this year’s ARTrails event, which includes tours of participating studios this weekend and next weekend, as well as samples of each artists work at the exhibition gallery at the Historic Centralia Train Depot at 210 Railroad Avenue.
The exhibition gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 21 through 29.
Artist studio tours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday and Sept. 28 and 29.
For more information about studios open for the event, go to www.artrailsofsww.org
On display at the Verdant Fire Studio at Centralia’s Rectangle Gallery, located at 209 North Tower Ave., will be Hanson’s “Red Octopus,” described as a needle felting piece requiring the artist to roll up small amounts of wool and stab them with a needle.
“Octopuses are one of my favorite animals,” said Hanson. “I was working on different paintings and sculptors of marine life that could be found in the Puget Sound. We have two different species of octopus: the giant Pacific and the red octopus.”
The accomplished sculptor and watercolor illustrator will also be featuring her seafrog and squid wool fiber pieces at the expo, along with detailed miniature sculptures of bison and lions.
Hanson also works as a fine arts after-school teacher, and tries to be an inspiration for many students who may have aspirations of developing into professional artists in their own right.
“What I tell most of my students is that practice is key. You don’t start off as an amazing artist. It takes years of work and you’re not always going to get accepted for things,” added the happily-married Onalaska native, whose persistence carried her through some of her own rough spots.
On that note, she told The Chronicle how she initially didn’t make the grade when applying for past ARTrail tours.
The selection process, explained local gallery owner and ARTrails founder Jan Nontell, consists of a varied committee of individuals who review applications and five photos submitted by each of the candidates.
“It’s not really judging; it’s more deciding. We try to keep a certain level of skill and we realize that not everyone is at that level. And also, the big thing about juries is that what they accept one year, they may not the next. What they turn down one year, they may love the next.”
When asked what this year’s theme is, the proprietor stated that there’s never a single overarching motif. The whole idea behind the highly-anticipated event — conceived over pizza and beers in 2003 — is to invite the public to meet the artists, buy art and celebrate Lewis County.
“There are so many artists in Lewis County. It’s a great area for artists to live; it’s a great area for artists to work, and that’s what we try to promote too — that this is a place for the arts,” offered the Wichita, Kansas-born artist, who enjoys enameling and creating Raku-style ceramics in her free time.
Sheryl Harris will be among the other artists at ARTrails, as she plans to share her love of bright colors while exhibiting her portraits, created in the style and tradition of influential contemporary artist and icon, John Nieto.
Her “Coyote” piece, in particular, pays tribute to the recently deceased Native American painter renowned for his bold strokes of intense primary colors.
The full event brochure is available online at issuu.com/artrailsofsww/docs/artrails-tourguide-2019-web.